Modi’s visit a symbolic new start: Nepali daily

Kathmandu:  Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal marks “more of a symbolic new start”, said a Nepali daily that noted the failure to reach power sector agreements should serve “as a salutary reminder about the reality of Nepal-India relations”.

An editorial in eKantipur Monday, the second day of Modi’s visit, said that the Indian prime minister’s trip is meant to jumpstart a new phase in relations between the two countries.

“There is much excitement in Nepal, and some believe that all the years of mistrust and suspicion will immediately be overcome.

“But as the failure of the power agreements demonstrate, old problems cannot easily be swept under the carpet. It will require sustained effort in order to overcome past problems,” it said.

The daily added: “Modi’s visit is only the beginning of a supposed new phase. If anything, it marks more of a symbolic new start. It is the task of Nepali and Indian politicians and officials to transform this into a reality.”

The editorial also sounded a word of caution, saying: “The failure to reach an agreement on the PTA (Power Trade Agreement) and PDA (Power Development Agreement) should also serve as a salutary reminder about the reality of Nepal-India relations.”

The daily went on to say that over the past month, the Nepali political class has tried to forge agreement over two agreements on the development and sale of hydropower.

However, it now appears that no agreement is possible, and that these documents will not be signed during Modi’s visit to Nepal. “This is somewhat of a disappointment. After all, the PTA and PDA were meant to be the crowning achievements of Modi’s visit.”

The editorial said that the political parties “should learn from the mistakes of the past and use the extra time to not only reach an agreement that would be in Nepal’s best interest, but which also enjoys the broadest consensus possible”.

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